I’ve always been pro-dirt when it comes to running. Offer me a muddy trail or an inner-city pavement, and I’ll take the former every time. But with this running style comes the need for a suitable trail shoe.
It was around this time last year, when a few weeks of wet, autumnal weather had transformed my usually dry local trails into a mud bath that I properly realised this. Desperate to splash my way through the puddles but reluctant to ruin my road running shoes (and less than convinced by their sturdiness), I decided to invest in a pair of dedicated trail runners.
After some research, I settled on the Hoka One One Torrent 2 trail running shoes – and they’ve been my go-to trainer for all my off-road (and some on-road) adventures ever since.
Hoka Torrent 2
The Hoka Torrent 2 is a lightweight, minimalist, all-round trail running shoe. With a low-profile cushioned design, it’s just as great for powering through trails as it is at covering long distances.
Hoka Torrent 2 review: one year in
Since I bought the Torrent 2, I’ve covered some considerable mileage in the shoe. From lunchtime 5ks to half-marathon distances, alongside my favourite running shorts, they’ve been my daily trainer for all my autumn/winter and trail runs and my go-to shoe for year-round hiking.
The first thing I noticed about the Torrent 2 is how light and minimalist the shoe is. Weighing 264 grams and neutral in design, I find the shoe allows me to quickly power through trails without feeling impeded by the bulkier cushioning that Hoka is typically known for. I also own a pair of the Hoka Clifton 8, a max-cushion road shoe, which I find to be noticeably heavier and more cumbersome over long distances.
I’ve found that the main difference between the Torrent 2 and other cushioned shoes is that its low-profile construction means your feet feel close to the ground compared to the platform-like experience of more robust cushioning. In my experience, this gives you extra control when negotiating downhill sections and running over rocky terrain. The lightweight cushioning also remains comfortable over long distances while still providing ample support.
I’ve found the fit of the Torrent 2 to be true to size, and, in my experience, the shoe didn’t need much wearing in. Soon after I bought my pair last year, I spent a weekend in Devon on a trail running and open water swimming press trip. I ran around 40k over the weekend on coastal trails near Dartmoor, negotiating steep declines, streams, slippery roads and a track of ankle-deep cow manure (don’t ask), and the shoe excelled in all scenarios.
The Torrent 2 is just as capable as a winter road runner or walking shoe. I’ve spent long walks in them around the Cotswolds during winter, and the shoe stood up well to all-day use. The shoe’s lug pattern grip on the outsole also provides a good amount of traction when negotiating wet leaves and icy surfaces on roads, which is why I also regularly use them as a road shoe when the weather turns cold.
I’m also a big fan of the design. Hoka is known for its style, and the Torrent 2 is no exception. I have a dark red pair with black accents, but really I could have chosen any of the colour options on offer, having spent a fair while deliberating between my red pair and a louder blue and orange design when I bought them.
If you’re looking for a lightweight, stylish and highly capable running shoe that’s equally at home on a winter walk as on a technical trail, I’d highly recommend the Hoka Torrent 2.